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Activists sue for worker data

Published August 2, 2007 12:53 am

They seek names and other info on scientists at the animal center
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

University of Utah students are appealing to 3rd District Court for names of campus animal researchers after the U. and the State Records Committee denied them the information.

Katie Patterson, a member of Utah Primate Freedom, asked the court to intervene after the U. and subsequently the State Records Committee declined students' request under the state open meetings law for names of researchers at the Animal Resource Center.

The U. gave the students only titles and salaries.

"We want to know who is responsible exactly for what," Patterson said.

U. spokeswoman Coralie Alder said the U. had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment about it.

But previously Alder said the U. did not release the names because of concerns about the "safety and well-being" of the faculty.

While she didn't want to name any specific groups, she did say "activists have a proven track record of violence."

On its Web site, the animal rights group Animal Liberation Front earlier this year detailed the vandalism its members previously committed at U. researcher Audie Gene Leventhal's Salt Lake City home, including painting the words "Cat Killer" on his home and throwing glass-eating acid onto his windows.

Patterson, a junior studying English, said she has no intention of committing any crimes and will not visit researchers' homes to protest, as a recent Salt Lake City Council decision bans such demonstrations, she said.

"The U. has been so secretive about what's going on up there," she said. "[Getting the names] hopefully will be just one of the ways we're going to find out exactly what they're doing up there."

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* SHEENA MCFARLAND can be contacted at smcfarland@sltrib.com or 801-257-8619.